Proto-dbl is a human proto-oncogene, whose oncogenic activation was initially detected by DNA transfection. We report significant sequence similarity between the predicted proto-dbl product and the products of CDC24, a Saccharomyces cerevisiae cell division cycle gene required for correct budding and establishment of cell polarity, and bcr, a gene implicated in the pathogenesis of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Of 925 residues of the predicted proto-dbl protein, a stretch of 238 residues showed 29% and 22% identity over a region of similar length of the CDC24 and bcr proteins, respectively. When evolutionarily conservative substitutions were taken into account, the similarities were 68.8% and 71.6% for proto-dbl/CDC24 and proto-dbl/bcr gene products, respectively. Moreover, all three sequences were predicted to be markedly hydrophilic over this region. Very small deletions within the conserved region completely abolished transforming activity of dbl, while extensive deletion outside of this region had no effect. Even substitutions over a small stretch of close similarity with the other proteins substantially impaired transforming activity. Cells transformed by the dbl oncogene, like cdc24 mutants arrested at the nonpermissive temperature, form multinucleate cells. Thus, our findings indicate that the conserved region is an essential domain that may reflect important functional similarities among these otherwise highly divergent molecules.